8.8
Score

Pros

  • Gets the audio experience right with its simple design
  • Sharkfin tip is back for better support while intensive tasks
  • Does have ANC and Ambient Mode, with other software support
  • Priced reasonably well for a FE Product

Cons

  • Samsung Seamless Codec is proprietary
  • Just having SBC is a bit of a downer for Non-Samsung users

Samsung Galaxy Buds FE Review

The Fan Edition family is expanding and now we are getting an audio product to pair with the Galaxy S23 FE and/or S9 Tab FE as well. But that aside, Samsung’s track record in making earbuds has been a hit-and-miss. But for some interesting reasons, this Samsung Galaxy Buds FE just might be the earbuds in a long time to live up to expectations and justify its price tag.

Samsung Galaxy Buds FE Review

Design-wise, familiar with other Samsung Offerings

Samsung’s design for the Buds in general has remained the same for years and looks like they won’t be parting ways with that design either. So, if you are coming from an existing Galaxy Buds, the case design would be something you’d be familiar with. Only that it now has a glossy finish – which in my opinion, is a tough material to take care of.

But thanks to Samsung, they sent us a case along with it – we got the Bob Case from Minions which I have to say is a cute and funky case we have seen in a while. Samsung has other cases too which you can purchase from their Online Store. Other than that, the earbuds are the only thing that has a different design, compared to their other generations – which we will address now.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds FE comes in two colours, and we have it in this Panda colourway – where the insides are black and the outside is white.

The Driver Style for the Buds FE

The Samsung Galaxy Buds FE has a different design style – from the outside, you will notice this “oval-like” touchpad which is flatter and has a glossy finish on it. However, on the side, the design is a little familiar to what you’d get from their other earbuds, albeit flatter.

What I do love about these Samsung Galaxy Buds FE is that it brings back the Fin-tips, which I am a huge fan of, as it holds in place in the ear very well and doesn’t fall off when you are doing rigorous activities. Surprisingly, they got the ergonomics right.

Now, on the insides of these Samsung Galaxy Buds FE, they are designed to satisfy general users who don’t require anything over the top. So, unlike the Buds Pro, which had a dual-driver setup, these Buds FE has a simple one-way speaker on the inside, which drives the audio to the ears. And a total of 6 mics – three on each side (2 outer mics and 1 inner mic).

I say simple because it is, and you could think of these earbuds – somewhat similar to your typical earbuds. However, granted there are improvements such as Samsung making these drivers to be capable of deep and powerful bass responses. Now how do they sound?

These Sound Great

Granted that these Samsung Galaxy Buds FE have the simplest setup, we still went in with the least expectations. That said, after using it for a while – it’s safe to say that these are the greatest vanilla-sounding earbuds Samsung has ever made.

Do take note: Do not Compare this to their Buds Pro as it is a completely different product. But I can say one thing, Samsung should stick to making more products like this Buds FE instead of dabbling their hands into the Pro audio lineup as it has always been a hit-and-miss. Now how’s the sound profile on these Samsung Galaxy Buds FE?

We jumped right into EDM with these earbuds, listening to She’s Got a Gun by KUURO and McCall. Immediately, we can tell that this sound differs from the Buds2 as the Buds FE has a more neutral presence with a touch of bass in its Normal EQ.

The vocals are bright, and it gives a sound profile as if it’s played in an airy environment. Once the bass drops at the 1:10-minute mark, it’s safe to say that, these are some of the well-balanced beats and nicely done bass presence I’ve heard from Samsung earbuds in a long time. The treble does peak at times but it isn’t as annoying as it seems to be.

Of course, if you do go into the EQ, and tweak it to bass boost, the treble goes down significantly and you can notice the bass is higher – and at the same 1:10-minute mark, you can tell it has more thumping action. But personally, I enjoyed it at the Normal EQ, even Rowdy by Memba sounded great.

Moving onto something different, Night Air by Jamie Woon – this is one song that I’d recommend listening to with a good pair of headphones/earphones as his vocals feel absolutely buttery smooth to the ear and the melody just serenades you.

With the Buds FE, I did once again hear a tad bit of treble pitch in the beginning, but later in the song, it sounds pretty good. The bass here is a little more heavily present and you can see how some part of the music gets a little bit missing – like his vocals have some missing “oomph” factor, the reverb sounds as if there’s a limit to it.

Finally, we went for a country-style song, The Legend of the Yellow Rose by Harry Hudson. This one sounded great, with priority on the instruments first and then the vocals secondary. Once the drums get introduced at the 1:55 mark, you can hear the thumping with the other background “noise” in the music which is separated well. At 2:45 – you can hear the multiple vocals and the layers, it’s nicer at the 3:16 mark and these Buds FE do a great job, no doubt.

There’s a Caveat though… for Non-Samsung Users

Whatever we listened so far, we listened using the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE. And you might ask, How is this an issue?

Now, if you use a Samsung device and connect the Galaxy Buds FE, you will be listening on a codec specifically designed for Samsung devices only. It goes by “Samsung Seamless Codec”. Their proprietary codec is good at giving better instrument presence, synchronization to your videos and music and a better overall listening experience. However, if you connect these earbuds to a non-Samsung device, it connects and utilizes SBC instead.

Whatever listening experience we have mentioned above is going to be completely different on SBC. For instance, listening to The Legend of the Yellow Rose by Harry Hudson on SBC – you can hear some noise and artefacts in the busier parts of the song. Like in She’s Got a Gun, you can tell the significantly higher treble and how the vocals have some noise to them, at the crucial part of the song.

So, do be aware – these codecs and the devices you choose to use will matter a lot as to how well the listening experience can be.

There are some Additional Features

Instead of equipping features that consumers very well may not use, they have included crucial features that will blow other earbuds at this price point. For one, Active Noise Cancellation and Ambient Sound modes, work wonderfully well. You do lose the customizable ANC which is only seen on more premium models, but if the default mode works well, that’s all it matters.

With the Galaxy Wearable App, you can take the Samsung Galaxy Buds FE up a notch. It comes with limited EQs you can choose from, set Bixby, Seamless Earbuds Connection across all of your Samsung devices and my personal favourite: to use these earbuds for Ambient sound during call, so that you are aware of your surroundings and not screaming.

You can download the app on a non-Samsung device and use it to customize your earbuds the way you like. However, some features may not be accessible as it is still homebound.

Battery Life

Is alright, as it does last about, anywhere from 20 to 27 hours, maybe a little more (vs. their rated 30 hours of playback time). The listening battery life on this varies depending on the ANC mode – with On you get about 5-6 hours of listening time and with Off, it’s about 7.5 to 8 hours. You can charge these with the help of USB-C and there’s no Qi Charging support.

Conclusion

The thing is, at RM 399 (do look out for discounts because it goes for lower on sale days), Samsung should be making more earbuds like these, over products with the “Pro” moniker which didn’t live up to its name. These Samsung Galaxy Buds FE may be vanilla earbuds that offer the bare necessities but you know what, most of the time, that is all you need. So, Samsung users – if you are keen on these lovely pairs, go for them.

Non-Samsung users, I wouldn’t recommend these to you, however, if the codec isn’t a huge deal breaker – I guess you can go ahead with it, as it still has good ANC and Ambient Mode.


For more tech, gaming, and lifestyle content, make sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Better yet, stay tuned to The Adventures of Vesper.